MADE IN ROTTERDAM at Wenneker Theatre, Schiedam

The young dancers of Scapino Ballet must consider it a great honour be members of such a prestigious company and have the opportunity to work with and learn from more experienced dancers and a variety of choreographers. However, dancers are artists and it is almost contrary to being a creative person to work in, and in many cases be subservient to, a group. Artists have their own view of the world and want to express it – they want to do their own thing. Made in Rotterdam gives them just that opportunity.

The initiative of Filip Wagrodzki and Lorenzo Cimarelli Made in Rotterdam, took place at the fine Wenneker Theatre in Schiedam which I hadn’t been to before. The evening was hosted by Daphne van Dooren in the presence of Scapino figurehead Ed Wubbe and former principle dancer with the company, Bonnie Doets.

First up was a solo piece danced and created by Mandela Giudice from Cameroon. Performed in a circle of candles A Silent Candle in the Dark explored finding one’s identity while confronting solitude, emptiness and boredom. The music was Darpa by Wim Mertens.

Limp, choreographed and danced by Bo Jacobs and Claire de Caluwe again explored identity and the different layers of skin that cover its various aspects. The two girls danced beautifully and the dénouement was shocking and exciting. The choice of Peter Gabriel’s My Body is a Cage was inspired.

At the mid-point of the evening Ms van Dooren spoke to four of the choreographers and hosted a short question and answers session which gave us a fascinating insight into the minds and motivation of those who create dance.

We were straight back into things with Tell Me Now, How do I Feel created by Filip Wagrodzki and danced by Sana Sasaki and Lorenzo Cimarelli, who also composed the music. This was the most dramatic piece of the evening with a clear narrative and some interesting props. When the lights went up we discover a male figure with a teddy-bear head sitting cross-legged in a pool of light. On the other side of the stage a girl enters pushing and old-fashioned pram. The piece explores the family’s place in modern society and an individual’s right to self-determination.

Last up was A Dry Towel Please, danced and choreographed by Fanny De Ponti, Olivia Escribano Mendieta and Thomas Tardieu. The towel was necessary to mop up the water that got spilled in the piece which drew our attention to the fact that this bfundemental building block of all life is in jeopardy and in many places in the world is hard to find.

Made in Rotterdam is a great initiative and all involved should be congratulated. Let’s hope it goes on to achieve the significance of the Rotterdam International Duet Choreography Competition, created by Scapino dancers Maya Roest and Mischa van Leeuwen, which climaxed last week.   Michael Hasted   28th June 2023